SAN ELIZARIO, TEXAS – Operation Connectivity (OC) is a statewide initiative, which aims to provide a connection to the internet in addition to increasing the availability of devices for school districts, students, and families throughout Texas. The OC project began in the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) and is now a partnership and collaborative effort which includes Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and hopes to provide internet connectivity to hundreds of thousands of students throughout the state. The San Elizario ISD (SEISD) is one of the participating districts that applied for Operation Connectivity assistance.
The SEISD will be receiving matching funds through the statewide bulk purchasing program. As part of the process, the SEISD entered into an interlocal acquisition agreement with Region 4 to purchase devices. After careful review of existing District devices and the device specifications offered through the bulk purchase program, the SEISD submitted a request to purchase the following devices and quantities:
Hotspots w/unlimited data
The total cost for the devices was $240,682. The 50% matching rate will allow for SEISD to only pay for $120,341, which will be covered through ESSER funds. The other 50% was to be matched by The Texas Education Agency through the Coronavirus Relief Fund.
As part of this OC initiative, TEA also had the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CFR) Bulk-Purchase Local Match Reimbursement Program for participating school districts. With this Local Match Reimbursement Program, TEA would contribute a $1 per $1 match for any funds contributed to school districts by local City and County entities towards this OC initiative.
On August 10, 2020, the County of El Paso unanimously approved the commitment of matching funds to regional school districts. As a result of this commitment from the County of El Paso, San Elizario was awarded $60,171 which means that TEA would contribute an additional $60,171 through the Local Match Reimbursement Program thus bringing down San Elizario ISD's original 50% share of $120,341 down to $0.
Superintendent Dr. Meza-Chavez states, "This is the result of the collective effort by Cabinet Team Members such as Mr. Norberto Rivas, the Chief Financial Officer, and Mr. Horacio Hernandez, the Technology Director, along with the Texas Education Agency and that of the local county of El Paso – when there is this type of collaboration, students win."